Category Archives: General

Autumn Around the Community Garden

One of our garden Pixies, Joy, picking a basket of produce.

 The weather this May has been most forgiving.  Barely a frost (yet!) and beautiful sunny days to be out preparing our beds for winter and spring crops. Here is one of our garden pixies, Joy, collecting a basket of autumn abundance.

Around six weeks ago we created our wicking bed and our wall gardens and many of the veges we planted are ready for harvest.  See for yourself!

Six week old lettuces, brassicas and herbs in our new wicking bed.
Six week old lettuces, brassicas and herbs in our new wicking bed.
Our wall gardens looking pretty and productive.
Our wall gardens looking pretty and productive.

Our bell lantern chillies have ripened splendidly so once again we have dug up the plants, re-potted them and placed them back into the hothouse for winter.  We are experimenting to see how “perennial” we can make our chillies here in the cold temperate climes.

Our young heritage apple trees which have been espaliered along the fencelines have been producing their first crop of organic apples.  We have deliberately planted early, mid and late season varieties to extend our cropping period.  Check out the Lady Williams (parent of Pink Lady apples).Kilos of fruit on our dwarf Lady Williams apple tree.

Kilos of fruit on our dwarf Lady Williams apple tree.

Autumn is generally the most abundant season, with everything from pumpkins, carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers and cabbages filling our baskets.

A savoy cabbage.
A savoy cabbage.

Peanuts!!  In Moss Vale??

Peanuts!! In Moss Vale??

 

 

 

It follows that it is a good time for preserving the harvest, and this year our  members have bottled tomatoes, pickled an assortment of veges, dried fruits like apples, quince and figs and made jams and jellies from berries, figs and quinces.  They seem to be very popular on our stall at Moss Vale Markets.

Klever Kathi created a Five Senses Bouquet consisting mainly of edible leaves and fruit from the Community Garden.  What an imaginative and personalised gift it was!

Kathi's Five Senses Bouquet made predominantly with edible leaves and fruit.
Kathi’s Five Senses Bouquet made predominantly with edible leaves and fruit.

The Garden is now morphing into its winter entity.  Although it seems that there wouldn’t be much to do this time of year, it is actually quite busy – preparing the soil for Spring with green  manure crops, pruning the fruit trees, planting winter veges like onions and garlic, broad beans and peas, mulching the kikuyu and grasses into oblivion.

Think it must be time for a celebration of the bounty of last season and the promise of hearty foods from the winter garden!!

Watch this space for our Winter solstice open day celebration…….

Community Gardens & Environmental Sustainability

On 17th of April, we were pleased to host Wingecarribee Shire Council’s Environment and Sustainability committee members, staff and some of our Councillors for morning tea at Moss Vale Community Garden.  We have been partially supported in some of our initiatives by Council’s Environment Levy and we appreciated the opportunity to demonstrate and explain the role of community gardens in modelling and encouraging various aspects of environmental sustainability within our shire.

MVCG's team with Council's Environment and Sustainability Committee and friends
MVCG’s team with Council’s Environment and Sustainability Committee and friends

How are we demonstrating environmentally sustainable practices?

  • By growing organic (chemical free) food on site and encouraging our members and visitors to do the same in their own backyards
  • By supporting other initiatives encouraging local food production (Slow Food etc) on a major scale for future food security for the Highlands
  • By recycling materials into compost and mulch that would normally go into the waste stream  (eg coffee grounds from a local coffee shop, lawn clippings from other gardens, shredded paper from Council offices)
  • By re-using tools and equipment, building materials, garden furniture etc, from Moss Vale Resource Recovery Centre and giving them a new life out of the waste stream
  • By building structures with renewable low embodied energy materials (strawbale shelter shed) as a model for others
  • By catching as much rainwater as we can store in tanks for use on our vege beds & mulching paths to reduce lawnmowing pollution
  • By installing solar panels for our energy requirements on site
  • By ‘growing’ community –  being open to all people in our shire regardless of ability, age or creed and interacting with other environmental groups to strengthen local environmental education
  • By taking part in Council’s School’s Environment Day activities
  • By developing a bush tucker bed and planning for future plantings of endemic native species for wildlife habitat and garden pest control.

Here we are enjoying a quick cuppa.

Council's Environment and Sustainability Committee learning a bit about the Community Garden's activities
Council’s Environment and Sustainability Committee learning a bit about the Community Garden’s activities

PENROSE HARVEST FAIR – APRIL 2013

Here we are at the Penrose Harvest Festival, enjoying a warm, sunny day whilst we chat with visitors to the fair and sell our seedlings and fruit trees.  It was a great day with lots of activities and entertainment throughout.  Lunch was a pizza cooked in the large wood-fired pizza oven (almost identical to the one at Moss Vale Community Garden and built by the same artisan – Manuel Alves).

We shared a site with Bundanoon Community Garden, who kindly loaned us a gazebo for the day and who sold lots of tickets in a raffle in which third prize was a selection of vege seedlings from our gardens and which raised money for both of our community gardens.  Many thanks to the Bundy group who diligently sold lots of raffle tickets.

Jill demonstrated how to create a worm tower in your vege garden to breed worms exactly where you want them – right there in the middle of the garden bed.  Very easy and very successful, so long as you feed them some kitchen scraps and wet shredded paper from time to time and give them some shade through the hottest months.  This worm tower looks like a red and white pine mushroom often seen growing wild in our district underneath radiata pine trees.

Side by side with Bundanoon Community Garden at the Penrose Harvest Fair
Side by side with Bundanoon Community Garden at the Penrose Harvest Fair

Berrima Australia Day Stall – January 2013

The Girls (Jill, Rosina and Joy) showing off our potted food crops
The Girls (Jill, Rosina and Joy) showing off our potted food crops at the Australia Day Stall in Berrima, January 2013

The weather was relatively kind compared to last year’s event and we were lucky to have a shady site for our plant stall.  Our gazebo was overflowing with plants we have been propagating, ranging from various berries, dwarf heritage apples and figs to seedlings and herbs.

We love propagating unusual food crops too – like water chestnuts, cape gooseberries and taro.  Our diet has been dumbed-down over previous decades and it is important that we vary our diet to maintain good health.

We had a profitable day, helped by sharing a site with our Volunteering Wingecarribee friends.  Funds will go towards a replacement trailer (second-hand, of course) for the one stolen in early January.

Plant stall at the Australia Day celebrations in Berrima - Rosina and Jill manning the stall
Plant stall at the Australia Day celebrations in Berrima – Rosina and Jill manning the stall

Have you seen our trailer?

We’ve been robbed. Some time on 7/8 January thieves took:

Our stolen trailer C66206
Our hard-working trailer raising funds from a stall at Kazcare. Unluckily, the rego plate is behind the picture; Rego number C66206 .
  • our second-hand trailer
  • a newish mower
  • a beautifully restored garden bench (gift from a volunteer)
  • our historic yellow, non-kinking hose (plus some other hoses)
  • long electrical leads
  • sundry garden shovels and general tools (still working out what’s missing)

Police tell us it looks like a professional job, maybe with local help.

We’ve had break-ins before. They’re disheartening, but our little band of members carry on.

We’ll need to replace the stolen equipment, and contributions are welcome. We deliberately limit ourselves to second-hand and low-cost equipment so the only thieves we attract are stupid ones.